The growing need for and importance of multi-component and multi-disciplinary engineering analysis has been understood for many years. For many applications, loose (or semi-implicit) coupling is optimal, and allows the use of various legacy codes without requiring major modifications. For this purpose, CFDRC and NASA LeRC have developed a computational environment to enable coupling between various flow analysis codes at several levels of fidelity. This has been referred to as the Visual Computing Environment (VCE), and is being successfully applied to the analysis of several aircraft engine components. Recently, CFDRC and AFRL/VAAC (WL) have extended the framework and scope of VCE to enable complex multi-disciplinary simulations. The chosen initial focus is on aeroelastic aircraft applications. The developed software is referred to as MDICE-AE, an extensible system suitable for integration of several engineering analysis disciplines. This paper describes the methodology, basic architecture, chosen software technologies, salient library modules, and the current status of and plans for MDICE. A fluid-structure interaction application is described in a separate companion paper.